I have quite the treat for you today, Gryffindors! Reader Pat, who’s not only a Harry Potter fan but also a good friend, had the time of her life at Harry Potter:The Exhibition this past week, and was generous enough to take tons of pictures and write up an exclusive report from the exhibition itself (thanks Pat!!!!). Okay, so there’s a lot to read here – grab some pumpkin juice or butterbeer, get comfortable, and let’s go!
The exhibit itself is not in the museum but rather in a series of very large tents outside on the north side of the museum. They were all interconnected with only one entry from the Main Floor and one exit (out through the gift shop, oh dear me, what a hardship Lol) back to main floor of museum.
Tickets had to be purchased in advanced as I didn’t see very many buying tickets there but probably. You could purchase an audio device and it would explain further the exhibits. We opted not to do this. It was only $5, hung around your neck, and you punched in the exhibit number and the narration would start. Many people did this. It was affordable.
Okay, once they scanned your ticket you took off down the tent hallways through two security points and thru a door which opened up to an area where you were greeted by a professor (HP volunteer) with the sorting hat and stool. They picked three kids from the crowd, asked their name and which house was their favorite. The sorting hat then gave its spiel, miraculously choosing the favorite house, two Griff and one Raven….it was great and it was the familiar voice of the hat.
After that, I was spotted in the crowd by the HP volunteers and was henceforth greeted as “Professor” throughout the exhibit. Now that was pretty awesome. More on that later. You then moved forward through heavy wooden decorative doors into the first room where there were screens for each of the already released movies playing simultaneously; all to whet the appetites of the viewers. These wooden doors were everywhere into each room of exhibits.
After a few minutes, door opened again and it was dark and you heard someone calling you to board the Hogwarts Express. The mock up of the train was off to the left and it was like you were on the platform to board. The volunteer was there with a lit lantern, swinging it back and forth, calling you. Cool.
I have to say, Warner Bros did a great job, bringing props, clothing from every movie and putting mostly all in order of each movie’s release. The moving paintings were there to greet you and to farewell you from the exhibit. If you didn’t have the audio, there was explanations everywhere to read.
Props ranged from the initial letter of invite to school to Quiddich equipment, Christmas ball gowns, dress robes, place settings, to Lupin’s wardrobe, all of that crazy author’s books and pictures of himself, (his name escapes me) and his dueling outfit was outstanding. The Mandrakes were there and you could pull one up and it would scream of course.
Hagrid’s hut was outstanding and showed just how large Bobby Coltraine’s outfit was. He is normally a big guy but his costume was massive. Buckbeek, Aragod, horntail dragon, centaurs were represented very well (I know my spelling is bad). There was a separate area for the Dark Arts and the Death Eaters and Dementors were huge, lifelike and scary, outstanding.
They had Voldermot’s light green, filmy costume too. There were wizard chess pieces, a pawn and rook, life size and massive. The best was the Great Hall set during the Christmas Ball during. All the girls’ ball gowns were there as well as all the boys. Ron’s is just as nasty as it was in the movie. Poor guy.
It is really interesting how small the girls are who play Hermonie, Chow, La Fleur, etc . Tiny girls. Oh to be sooooo petite. There was all that glorious food shown during the reception banquet in the first movie and there were the suspended candles from the ceiling. Dress robes from the Headmaster and all were on display with Dobbie hiding behind Dumbledore’s. How priceless.
The Wesley twins were represented in this room as well with all their items they sold in school and in their shop. This was all under glass, bright, and delight to everyone spying the puking whatever, etc. They were all there. There wasn’t anything you didn’t recognize. Everything was in great condition and very well protected from the crowd. There were definitely no pictures as there was security everywhere, discretely, but very there.
There were many volunteers and I talked with many of them since I was in costume. They loved my school robe and it was just like the ones on display and they were curious where I got it. I explained it was custom made by the gal in California and they wanted to see my wand and explained about it as well. I soon became a celebrity in my own right. Many people stopped me to ask questions, thanks goodness I knew the answers but said I was like them, a visitor.
They were amazed at my outfit and knowledge. All the volunteers were British, right from Chicago, but Warner Bros. said they have had to live in England to answer questions if posed by visitors. So, if you were British and never lived in England, you couldn’t work the exhibit. Ashley was one at the entrance of the exhibit and was very sweet and complimentary as was all of the volunteers. I think if I pressed the issue, I might have been able to work somewhere in the exhibit or museum, LOL.
Crowds were huge but very well controlled. No one got out of hand and it was surprising how many adults were attended the exhibit. I thought it would be loaded with kids, but there more adults. There were a few in costume, like the sweater and pants or sweater and skirt. I did see one other robe but it was like a cape. I had the only robe!
They even had the Quiddich goal posts and you could throw the ball thru them. I did it three times and was ready to sign up. There was also Ron’s Quiddich uniform from HBP along with a few others. Slughorn was also represented well already. My favorite professor you love to hate – you know, the one in pink, they had her office there with all of her cat plates (they didn’t move or meow though), the magic quill, pink everywhere and the list of I shall not tell lies. Of course, a Cornish Pixie was on display and it was about 3 feet tall!. Krecher was there in all of his glory too.
Every main character was represented, no one was left out. There was casual clothing of all of the kids as well as robes throughout all the movies. Soundtracks played in the background all during your tour and you could stay as long as you wanted once inside. I found myself humming Hedwig’s theme all day. I am such a groupie.
Basically, you got your money’s worth and I would go again, easily.
The last stop was the gift shop. All Warner Bros stuff of course. Exhibition shirts were expensive and a very thin 100% cotton. I was afraid after one wash, they would deteriorate. However, there were the DA sweatshirts, etc, all what you find online. Coffee mugs were of the exhibition along with a few other items such as key rings.
Other great stuff were the house pins and book mark collections, all the hats you can imagine, books, CDs, DVDs, coloring books, magnets, wands, stuffed animals, some jewelry, water globes, etc, just about all the things you would find on line. I talked with the head gal who ordered the stuff, which had to be approved by WB, and said they had to get stuff they thought people would buy. They may get other things as the exhibit runs to get a good feeling on what’s popular and what isn’t. Everyone leaving the exhibit had a bag, a big bag and me too.
There was something for everyone at any price. Prices were comparable to online WB store. Oh yes, chocolate frogs and the jelly beans were there too, but none of the Wesley twins’ stuff. The Marauder’s map was a favorite and I did get one too. I mentioned to the gal who orders that a canvas bag with the exhibit name and date would have been really good. They didn’t think of it….oh well. There were paper bags that they put your purchases in that had the exhibit name, etc on it.
Oh by the way, those two pix of a spell bottle and spell book are COOKIES! The spell bottles came in blue, orange and green, and there were spell books, and parchment paper (scroll with writing on it). They are iced sugar cookies. The potion one measured about 6 inches and the book 3 inches. Very nice. The café and Starbucks sold them for I think for $2.50 each there in the museum. A very nice touch and yummy! My husband accidently broke the neck of my potion cookie but it was yummy just the same. I am glad I took a pix of it before that happened…LOL!
Note from Gryffindor Gazette: Again, a HUGE thanks to Pat who was so generous with her time and gave us all this great report and pics – just wonderful!